Morobe’s provincial education adviser made this comment after visiting a school in the mountains of Pindiu in Finschhafen district.
The Sassiu Primary School of the Burum-Kuat LLG serves children of the mountains of Finschhafen. There are no roads, no water supply and no electricity there.
While students brave the slippery mountain tracks and fast-flowing rivers to go to school, equally important are the teachers based in the hinterlands of the electorate who need to walk for days to access basic services or get supplies.
During the official opening of the school on Monday, the 14th of September, provincial education adviser, Keith Tangui, was informed that the teachers there have not received their ‘Remote Rural Disadvantaged School Allowance’.
“This school has been operating for the last eight years and the teachers here have not received any remote allowance,” he stated. “I’ve talked to the teachers to at least put something on paper, bring it to our office and we can submit the name to Port Moresby, Waigani, and then get this school on as a remote or disadvantaged school.”
According to the Education Department, the Remote Rural Disadvantaged School Allowance is applicable to remote schools in communities with no basic government services. These schools are identified by the Provincial Division of Education and notified to the Teaching Service Commission for approval. The allowance is paid at a rate of K1,000 per annum on lodgment of a claim.
Apart from the remote allowance, the headmaster of Sasiu primary was also advised to fill in a claim form for ‘Head Teacher Responsibility Allowance’ and ‘Multi-grade Teaching Allowance’ for him and his five teachers who oversee over 300 students from elementary to Grade Eight.
The Sassiu Primary School was relocated from the neighbouring mountain village of Lengbati to Siu in 2018 as the trekking conditions were quite dangerous for children there, especially in wet weather.
(Morobe’s provincial education adviser, Keith Tangui, at the Sasiu Primary School)